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Dec 21, 2014

Merry Quiet Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wishing all you happy people more happy times, to those who have lost their loved ones, wishing you acceptance and closure and happier times ahead. It'll be a mellow Christmas for us who have sad memories but we still need to keep our strength .... so...we EAT!!

Like I told a fellow friend and blogger .... Food is always a good solution. Eat too much and you can't move to do any damage to anything... not enough and you'd be searching and too busy foraging to bother about what's happening around you. 
So my message to close off the end of a relatively non-eventful (thank goodness) year .... EAT.

Nov 23, 2014

Jaffa Cake Muffins

Orange and chocolate.
One of the best partnership ever created. 
Marsha hates fake orange flavours. So do I. Well, any fake flavour is horrible anyway. 
Marsha made these. Marsha tempted me. Marsha, this is all your fault for ending my no desserts and no sugar diet.
I shall start that stupid diet again after I’ve finished this lot. Maybe I’ll give them away …. but I’ve already eaten two. One more won’t hurt …. maybe I’ll keep 3 and give away the rest. Maybe I’ll keep them all …. just maybe.

My whole place smells so refreshing, so citrusy, so who needs a room freshener anyway.

The recipe is so simple. 
Blitz everything together, stir and bake. 
I’m at a phase where I’m totally not in the mood for creaming butter and sugar. I wanna blitz things together. Stir. And bake. 
You may call me lazy. Go ahead. Lay-zee….
We deserve to be that every now and then. Pamper yourself. Put your feet up. Enjoy some ME time.  Find an easy recipe, quick and simple, not a ton of utensils and bowls to wash after. Have a muffin (or two, or three, oh come on, you know you wanna) with a nice cuppa. (Not necessarily in that order).

I’ve made an orange pudding quite similar to this in that you blitz the whole orange and everything else and just dump it in the oven. That was awesome too!
This muffin turned out light and moist, unlike the usual denser muffin texture. I guess if you’d just put it in cake molds, you can call it a cake. (Marsha said that too).

Meet Marsha Thompson @ The Harried Cook. 
Nah … she’s not that harried. She likes being harried. She’s happily harried. 


1 whole orange (unpeeled, quartered and seeded)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 egg
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
3 oz mini dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 180ºC. 
Grease a 12 cup muffin tray or use liners or muffin cups. (I just pressed a square of baking paper into each hole...maybe that's why it looks so weird. See partial pic at bottom of page)
In a blender or a food processor, purée the quartered orange and juice until smooth. (Mine wasn’t very smooth but it worked out well. Next time I’ll try it a little chunkier for some citrusy bite).
Add the butter and egg and buzz until combined. Transfer mixture into a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Fold this into the purée until completely combined.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into muffin cups.
Bake for about 18-20 mins (I baked a little longer, about 25 - 30 mins).
Remove from the oven. Cool in tin for awhile before removing and serving.
* I discarded the liners once out of the oven (they get soggy while cooling) and left the muffins on a rack to cool.

Nov 20, 2014

Watami : A Re Review

Watami @ 1 Utama

Back in 2012, I did a review at their outlet in Paradigm Mall and had a pretty okay experience. There were some good stuff, yes, of course. They still do. Some hype about it raised my expectations, I guess. This time I went without any, since I’m not here for a review. Was more impressed than the last visit (probably because they were trying too hard the last time) and I thought, they deserve an update … also because they do serve pork dishes now.

The quality of the salmon in the Salmon Sashimi Don was still as good. They certainly didn’t scrimp on the rice. I wish I could have finished it ….. soooo good! Real stuff …. no subs.
The Chawan Mushi was also very good, silky and flavourful…no bouncing on the floors with these. There’s only one other place I know (not talking about high-end Japanese restaurants, just the regular affordable ones) that makes it so beautifully.
Watami didn’t serve pork back then at my first review. Today, with so many Ramen shops sprouting up all over serving their versions of “authentic” Japanese Ramen, I’m not surprised they’ve included this in their menu. The quality of the pork slices were top notch but the texture of the ramen wasn’t quite up to par. I’ve no Phd in the ramen department…just that I like it silky smooth and al dente.
I’d asked about their Crab Croquettes and was disappointed they had taken that off the menu. Those were really something.
The homestyle gyozas were still around. Wonder why they kept this and not the croquettes? I thought the croquettes were so much yummier. Didn’t take a pic of those as they weren’t too photo friendly. You can take a look at them here.

The portions for the set meals were pleasantly and generously large. Service was excellent. In fact, the Ramen I had wasn’t on the set but they accommodated and changed it to what I wanted. Now, that’s service! 
Except for the waitress who insisted I use the shallow plate when I asked for a bowl to share my noodles with a friend…soup, noodles, duh….I got my bowl….it was a very good brunch. 
And no….unfortunately, we couldn’t fit in any desserts this time. 

The menu has changed some. I’ll definitely be back to try out more of their new stuff.

Restaurant Review Disclaimer:

This review is of my own opinion. I am under no contract or obligation to write a review or to make it a positive one if I did.
I write my honest opinions and will tell you quickly if a product is not up to my standards. Anything I dislike may not be what you dislike (I can't help it if you have bad taste ... haha). My reviews are for entertainment purposes only. I am not a professional in the field and am not providing professional advice or anything of the sort.
Read at your own risk

Nov 10, 2014

Easy Dinner Rolls

Oh ….
My ….
This must be the easiest and fastest bread recipe I’ve ever tried!
And they turned out super!

Soft and tender crusted rolls. Not the hard crust dinner rolls.

My bread machine decided to die on me. I haven’t been making bread since my tennis elbow injury. 
Tried a “No Knead Bread” recipe. It was ok … no great shakes. 
Tonight I had a hankering for some plain soft buns, slathered with butter. I can wolf down a half dozen easily and then regret it all later when I feel like a hippopotamus that can’t swim. So yum!
Had to make some. 
Used a regular stand mixer this time, using the dough hook attachment. 
This is gonna be a repeat recipe for sure …. many, many repeats…probably with some improvisations later. 

Do not be shocked by the amount of yeast. It doesn’t turn out yeasty. All’s good. Tested, tasted and approved by several tonguebuds ...or maybe they're just being polite? 

(Adapted from kitchenmeetsgirl)

1 cup plus 2 tbs warm water
1/3 cup oil (I used grape seed oil)
2 tbs active dry yeast (I used instant yeast)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3 1/2 cups bread flour / high protein flour

2 tbs butter, melted (for brushing)


Preheat oven to 400ºF / 200ºC.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine warm water, oil, yeast and sugar. Give it a quick stir and leave to rest for 15 mins. You should have a foamy mush by then.
Mix 2 cups of the flour, salt and egg into the yeast mixture using dough hook attachments. 
Add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup at a time.
Knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough.
Shape dough into 12 balls (I made into smaller ones and got 18).
Place dough balls into a large baking pan, spacing them apart enough for dough to rise until about doubled in size. Alternatively, you can also bake them in muffin pans.
Let rest for 10 mins (I left mine for 15 mins) or until doubled in size.
Bake for 10 mins (I baked for 10 mins, took them out and brushed with some melted butter and baked a further 5 mins) until tops are just golden brown.

Soooo goooood!!

I've used it as a burger bun, loaded with char shu (Chinese bbq meat) and pickled gherkins with a slathering of mustard. It's a little lighter than the usual burger buns. Okay if the filling isn't too heavy. If you're looking for a good burger bun, you can use this. Great buns for anything.

*Note: unused dough can be frozen before proofing stage. Wrap in cling film and freeze. Thaw, shape and allow to rise to double its size and bake as per instruction above.

Nov 2, 2014

Lemon Polenta Cake with Pine Nuts

Found me some gorgeous lemons!
Not aesthetically beautiful …..  but fragrant, lemony, sunshiny, wakey wakey kind of gorgeous!
You must understand my euphoria. The lemons we get here are usually pretty boring …. small, round little things that don’t have that lovely fresh tingly lemony fragrance. Honestly, if I’d never had the chance to taste and smell a better one, I wouldn’t have raved about this lot. 

Naturally the smaller, boring ones are cheaper but eh? what’s the point of getting lemons that don’t smell like lemons? You get that tart taste … we have local limes that are better substitutes. 
And so I bought a bagful… uh … make that 2 bagfuls. 
Forget about making stuff with them, I’m happy just scratching at the skin and sniffing at them. Ooohhh heavenly!

After much scratching and sniffing (great way to disinfect and have super clean and nice smelling nails), I remembered a cake I’d had that made such a great impression on my tastebuds I promised myself I’d make one if I ever got my hands on really good lemons. 
This was it. 
And I’m happy that it’s relatively easy to make. 

This has no flour in it, for the gluten intolerant. But unfortunately, there’s nuts, for folks who are allergic to them. And a ton of butter, for the fat intolerant. Indulge, for the ones who can’t say no to desserts.
Polenta / maize meal / corn meal gives it a grainy, rubble-like texture which works well with the lemon syrup drizzle as it doesn’t go all limp and soggy.

Should you attempt this, go for the good lemons. It’s worth it. Indulge.

(adapted from Nigella’s)


200 g butter, softened
200 g caster sugar
200 g ground almonds
100 g fine polenta 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
zest of 2 lemons (save juice for syrup)
pine nuts


juice of 2 lemons
125 g icing sugar


(Nigella uses a 9” springform pan, Base lined, sides greased and baked for 40 mins).
I used mini loaf pans 2” x 4”, bases lined and sides greased. Use a long strip to line the base so that you have a little overhang … to lift out your cake when it’s cooled.

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Beat butter and sugar til fluffy and pale.
In a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the whipped butter, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
Beat in the lemon zest and spoon into pans. Sprinkle with pine nuts.
Bake for about 20 - 25 mins or until the tops are golden.
Remove from oven but leave in pan to cool.

Meanwhile, make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and icing sugar. Once the icing sugar has dissolved, you’re done.

Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester and drizzle the warm syrup over. 
(I drizzled about 2 tsps per little loaf. You can always use more but I didn’t want it to be too soggy or drizzle on just before serving).
Leave to cool before removing from pans.
(Use a spatula to loosen the sides a little when removing from pans)

Serve with extra drizzle, lemon curd and/or an extra sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. 

Oct 30, 2014


The Great Pumpkin is gonna be so sore at me. I seem to have eaten all of my pumpkins and left none to carve and welcome halloween in. 
Shhh…don’t tell him what this is …. it’s a pumpkin in its halloween costume…yeah…that’s it.
They’re getting really good at make-up and their costumes these days, don’t ya think? Great disguise!

Anyway…have a Happy Halloween y’all !!
Enjoy the season with it’s wonderful gorgeous colours which we (in this part of the world) can only visualise unless somebody forgets to water their garden.

Oct 24, 2014

Pan Seared Salmon with Passionfruit & Capers Sauce

So I’m up to my eyeballs in passionfruit. 
I’m good. Can’t seem to get tired of those fragrant things. Just bored of eating them the same way. Besides turning them into jam (Wanna see? Here.), I’ve made them into drinks, used them in cakes, desserts … notice something? It’s always a sweet. 
Then this afternoon, I was browsing at the grocers wondering what’s for dinner. Friend suggested salmon. And so, “bwwiiing!!”, went the lightbulb that is my noggin’.
Why not a savoury?

It’s always been a lemon and dill sauce for salmon….something contrasty to the rich, oily fish.
Passionfruit? Yessss….
Didn’t want a rich, cloying sauce. Figured I’d go with something lighter … more refreshing …. more, um, lazy. 

So here goes. Tell me if you like it. I did! 

As always, my portions are small. Double up or triplify (new word, my friends call it Pinglish) if you like. Adjust the ingredients to suit your palate.


Salmon fillets
1 tbs butter
1 tbs grape seed oil 
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 heaped tbs capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
pulp of one large passionfruit
1 tsp honey (or to taste)


Season salmon with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Heat the butter and oil in a pan.
Pan sear the salmon, skin side down. Using a spatula, press lightly on salmon so that it doesn’t curl.
When skin is crisp (about 2-3 mins), flip and sear other side til it’s done to your liking.
Remove from pan and let rest.

Meanwhile, stir together yogurt, chopped capers, passionfruit pulp and honey.
Glop over salmon and enjoy!

Oct 13, 2014

Passionately Yours ... and mine

This is such a lovely and delicious way to eat passionfruit, I just had to share it. It’s so simple, many may have already tried it this way but I’ve only had my eyes and tastebuds tantalised at a Malay-Indonesian restaurant about a year ago. 
Recently, there have been a variety of passionfruit in the grocers and I had to try them all out. And with this really bad flu I’ve caught, it’s also a great excuse to medicate myself with it. Yes, with natural cures. I’m totally sensitive to drugs. 


All varieties of passionfruit
All kinds of honey


Cut fruit in half.
Drizzle honey on top.
Scoop and eat.
Cut another fruit into half.
Drizzle honey on top.
Scoop and eat.
Cut another ….. you get the idea.

Oct 9, 2014

Pumpkin Rice

~Pumpkin, Pumpkin,
Round and fat.
Harvest time is coming.
Yum, yum, yum.
That is that!~

I have the sniffles and I think it’s pumpkin fever. Incurable. I die happy.
I found this recipe on a fellow blogger’s site. It caught my eye. And why not? It’s got pumpkin in it.
Hers is a loaded version. You can check it out here.
I just made a simpler one since I’ll be having kung pao chicken on the side. Altho this turned out scrumplicious, basmati rice would be a better choice as it's less fluffy and with a springier bite. 
It’s so appetising! Good even on its own. Thanks Phong Hong!
I’m gonna be making this very often and with different variations.


1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
1 Chinese sausage, thinly sliced (or substitute with any meat of your choice)
1 cup diced pumpkin
2 tbs dried shrimp, soaked, drained and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken / vegetable stock
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs oil
Chopped scallions


Heat oil. Sauté the garlic and the dried shrimp.
When it’s fragrant, toss in chopped onion, pumpkin, sliced Chinese sausage and ground cinnamon. Stir it around until onions are soft.
Turn off the heat and mix in the rice. Coat evenly.
Transfer into a microwave safe bowl and add in the stock.
(Same method as how I cooked rice before. Alternatively, you can also plonk it into a rice cooker if you have one).
Cook uncovered on high for 10 mins.
Sprinkle chopped scallions just before serving.

Oct 1, 2014

Chocolate Chips Pumpkin Cake

It’s pumpkin season again. 
I love pumpkins. I used to go crazy thinking of unconventional things to make, cook, bake with pumpkins. 

Crazy moments: 

There must be over a hundred varieties out there. We get a good variety from the local grocers. And to mess about with, I wouldn’t even bother getting expensive imported ones. Our local variety is good enough …. similar to the winter squash, Linus’ pumpkin patch types, the one Cinderella took to the ball and forgot to come back before her curfew and lost her shoe (definitely pretty ill-fitting shoe, I must say, and probably had one too many margaritas … you really have to read between the lines of those fairy tales to get the gist of the saucy substance of what the author is actually trying to say but could not due to childrens’ story books bylaws or whatnots).

Anyway, enjoy this while pumpkin is still in season or just freeze mashed pumpkin and you can have it all year through! 

Oh …. before I go mess about some more ….
For those who do not want to use canned pumpkin puree, you can prepare your own very easily.
Just get rid of the hard skin and seeds. Cut into large chunks and steam them for a few minutes (you can tell when they’re soft. The colour turns a darker orange). 
And, in this recipe, I did not mash the pumpkin too fine (I did call it mash and not puree). It’s good either way. I kinda like the speckled orange look.

(This cake is a combination of recipes. So if anyone feels that this originated from yours, please let me know. I’ll add a link and your cake pic to this). 


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup (4oz) butter, melted
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 170ºC.
Generously butter a 9”X5”X3” loaf pan or three 6”X3”X2” mini loaf pans.
Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix well.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs.
Add pumpkin, melted butter, and milk. Mix well.
Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan/pans. 
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove cake from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Sep 24, 2014

Nectarine Ginger Cake

Just trying to save some nectarines ....
Have already put a couple out of their misery. This weather just isn't good for fruits like these. 
They were reasonably priced for a change .... I couldn't resist. 
It's a good excuse to bake and to get myself going again. 

It isn't fun having tennis elbow. It isn't fun not getting to play tennis. It isn't fun not being able to even lift a cup .... gah.
(Can I use that as song lyrics?)

I don't have much to say these days. Forgive me. 
I just eat. 
No, I'm way past my depression days .... not worth it. I'm just grumpy. Lacking in exercise, you know, lacking happy chemicals: endorphins (for the inquiring minds ... "endogenous morphine"), oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and all.

Messing about in the kitchen, retail therapy ...oh yes... a friend advised me to jog. No elbow use (except flapping it around as you jog ...that hurts too, you know), cheaper than retail therapy and I get my happy chemicals. So I figured I'd get a big, quick fix and jog from store to store. Good, eh?

This is good too. It was experimental. Portion is small. I'm gonna double up for the next one. Add more ginger. Flavors are lovely and subtle. You don't have to take my word for it. Make it and find out.

(So much for having not much to say....)

(Recipe adapted from 手のひらサイズのベイクドケーキ)


72g butter, softened
50g castor sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
72g self raising flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tbs yogurt
1 nectarine, pitted and sliced
60g crystalised ginger, chopped or cubed


1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a small loaf pan or line with baking paper. (I used a silicon loaf pan. Didn't have to grease nor line)
2. Whip butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. 
3. Stir in yogurt, followed by flour and baking powder. 
4. Transfer batter into loaf pan. Arrange nectarine slices on top and sprinkle chopped crystalised ginger along the sides. 
5. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 mins. 
6. Cool and serve.

Jun 5, 2014

Sprouting Ideas: Chia

You’ve heard of Chia pets. Chia seeds. I wrote a little about it a while ago while experimenting (messing around really) with it in a spiced peach jam.

Full of nutrition, minerals … healthy benefits.
Ground chia seeds are great in bread and cakes. 
Now come the sprouts. Great in salads and sandwiches. Saw this on several sites and I decided to give it a go. I love sprouts … all sorts. They’re expensive to buy. Dunno why … it’s so easy and quick to grow. 

Has anyone tried sprouts on buttered bread? You know those dainty little things called cucumber sandwiches? Replace them cucumbers with sprouts, lashings of butter and lovely soft white bread …. or whatever healthy alternative soft bread you like. I’m going for something that pleases my tummy and fussy tongue buds …nothing healthy here …. oh … fine …. health food … ground chia seeds bread? Close your eyes while you chew on them … minus the crunch, they taste like cucumber…use your imagination.

Anyway …. I had fun growing these cute thingies. 
I’d used the plastic container for coffee machine pods. You can use old egg cartons, unglazed clay tiles, any shallow container. 

On clay surfaces, just sprinkle an even layer of seeds on a soaked tile. Give the seeds a spray of water and continue spraying it daily keeping them moist. They’ll turn into a gelatinous goop but it’s fine. They’ll sprout soon enough. 

Here’s what I did for mine …


coffee pods container / egg carton
cotton buds
Chia seeds


Wet the cotton buds and and fill each hole of the container. 
Sprinkle an even layer (do not over crowd the seeds) on the soaked cotton. 
Leave on a sunny window sill or any sunny area but not in direct sunlight. 
Sprinkle water on the cotton buds daily or whenever it looks/feels dry. 
It’s important to keep it moist.
Wait patiently for those cute thingies to sprout. 
Trim when sprouts are about 2-3 cm tall…about 2 weeks or so.

Throw out cotton and start all over.

Apr 25, 2014


What do you do with cockles?

Just curious ......
I haven't seen many posts on cockles and am wondering if it's eaten anywhere else besides asia. 

Here in Malaysia, we like it 
~1. just scalded, the flesh dug out with a pick and dunked in a sweet chilly dip. 
~2. Fried with koay teow (flat rice noodles)
~3. Cooked in a curry

Anyone has recipes other than the measly 3 I have?